This year three UN expert committees rated the country's performance on meeting rights commitments -- and returned a failing grade.
An Amnesty [International] report released Wednesday says that committees on racial discrimination, prevention of torture and children's rights found "a range" of "ongoing and serious human rights challenges," especially for indigenous peoples.
"By every measure, be it respect for treaty and land rights, levels of poverty, average life spans, violence against women and girls, dramatically disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration or access to government services such as housing, health care, education, water and child protection, indigenous peoples across Canada continue to face a grave human rights crisis," it said.
There's more, including similar reports from the BC government's inquiry into missing women and from Human Rights Watch.
Let's be honest with ourselves: we didn't slip from outstanding to a failing grade in the seven years that the CPC has been governing. Previous governments, and lower levels of government, have done their share to contribute to the current state of affairs. Or maybe that should be "failed to do their share".
But the current federal government is singled out for attention both for some aspects of its new refugee policies and for this:
Amnesty said that the Harper government has "dramatically undermined and rapidly dismantled" support for public policy debate in which diverse views are aired. At the same time, whistleblowers on nuclear safety, RCMP oversight, prisoner transfers in Afghanistan and veterans' rights have been "dismissed or publicly derided by senior members of the government."
Don't be surprised if the Idle No More protests continue to grow. Canada's indigenous peoples have learned the hard way that the normal channels don't work and that things will continue to deteriorate if they don't take matters into their own hands.
And don't be surprised if other countries increasingly dismiss John Baird as a self-righteous blowhard on human rights issues since our own house is so obviously in disorder.
Aren't we awesome?